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Practical Advice for Lease Negotiations

April 27, 2010 | Apartment Hunting, Apartment Hunting Advice

We get asked about rent negotiation all the time—especially in this tough economy, where every penny counts and many people are down-sizing or doubling-up with roommates to make ends meet. Here are some practical guidelines for how to approach a successful rent negotiation.

Six Tips for Negotiating a Lease:

  1. Be a Good Tenant: Make sure you’re a good tenant; you want to impress the landlord. That means demonstrating that you have a history of paying your rent on time, keeping noise levels down and staying on good terms with your neighbors and property management staff. References may be helpful if not required.
  2. Research Rents in the Neighborhood: This will give you a better idea of what is considered a fair rental price, and it will inform your rent negotiation. If you can prove there are similar rental availabilities nearby at a lower rent, you can use that as leverage when you talk to your prospective landlord.
  3. Start a Good Relationship: Remember, any negotiation has to be a win for both sides. Open the conversation with the landlord by asking if there’s room for rent negotiation, and set up a time to meet in person or talk by phone. Always be professional and polite; this could be your new landlord and it’s important to have a good working relationship with them.
  4. Know What You Want: Before presenting your case, think through what you want, what you would be willing to give in exchange, and why the deal makes sense for both you and the landlord. For example, if you are asking for lower rent, consider offering to sign a longer lease, perhaps for 15-18 months instead of 12 months. A longer lease term provides a benefit to your landlord because it reduces the amount of time and money spent on filling a vacant unit over the long run.
  5. Be Flexible: Be open to other ways the landlord might be able to provide you with more value if they cannot budge on the monthly rental price. They might be able to throw in a discounted gym membership, extra storage, a covered parking space, new paint and carpet, or myriad of other things, so stay open to the possibilities and the conversation.
  6. Don’t Be a Bully: Never try to strong-arm a landlord to accept your terms as you could jeopardize your relationship and risk losing the apartment.

Good luck on your lease negotiations! Let us know how to goes!

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